Travel Industry Association Forecasts Stable Leisure Travel Market Despite Rough Economy

The Travel Industry Association (TIA) released on Oct. 31 its annual travel forecast indicating that an uncertain economic climate is leading American and global travelers to change their behaviors. Although leisure travel is stable, business travel is projected to decline and the United States is likely to be hit hard by a further decline in international arrivals.

Despite current economic conditions and lagging consumer confidence, the forecast shows that leisure travel volume remains stable for 2008 (-0.2 percent) and is expected to decline modestly in 2009 (-1.3 percent). Consumers are expected to shop around for prices, to go on shorter trips and to spend less money while traveling.

Business travel is projected at a 3.7 percent decline in volume for 2008 and another 2.7 percent decline forecasted for 2009, according to TIA's annual travel forecast. Business, meeting and convention travel volume is expected to begin to recover in 2010 (+2 percent).

Recent increases in international travel have cushioned the blow of declining domestic travel. This is not expected to hold true in later years as the dollar gets stronger and the global economy declines. The Department of Commerce estimates international arrivals will decline by -1.6 percent in 2009. Overseas travel to the U.S. is expected to decline 3 percent in 2009 and grow very modestly in 2010. By the end of 2011, overseas arrival still will not exceed the record level in 2000.

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